Immigration is a topic that is always in the news. Whether it is because of the many changes to the rules or maybe because of the upcoming elections, everyone is waiting to see the results of the elections and what effect it will have on everything, including immigration.

Today on the show I had the pleasure of talking to Dr Adil Malik from Malik law chambers in detail about the NHS Surcharge. He said that the NHS surcharge has to be paid by everyone who is applying for a leave to enter or leave to remain with a few exceptions as part of their application. On the payment of the NHS surcharge an IHS reference number will be provided and this reference number has to be entered on the application form. Without this IHS reference number making an application will not be possible. It does not matter if you plan to use the NHS services or not and even if you are thinking of taking up private insurance you still have to pay the NHS surcharge.

Also the NHS surcharge has to be paid for the entire duration of the grant of leave to remain or leave to enter upfront and this might cause a financial burden for the families who are already struggling to live in this country. Dr Malik felt that after putting a financial limit of £ 18600 for families to be able to bring their dependents here and also after the payment of National Insurance it does not seem fair to the migrants to be burdened with the excessive payment for the NHS. He said that the charges were £ 150 per year for students and £ 200 per year for all other visa categories.

Asylum application, ILR applications and also applications for humanitarian protection or domestic violence are exempt from paying the surcharge and also from providing an IHS reference number with their application. But intra company transfer applications or for family members of someone working in the armed forces or for nationals of New Zealand or Australia and a few more exceptions they still have to go to the government website and get the IHS reference number but they don’t have to pay the NHS surcharge.

Dr Malik felt that we will have to wait and see what happens in the future and what the opinion of the courts will be because he feels that this might be challenged in the court because it’s unfair to the tax payer who pays tax and also National Insurance.

He said that the visa applications fees have also been increased plus the burden of NHS surcharge will make it very difficult for people.

He also discussed in detail about British nationality. He said that if the parents are born in the UK and get British nationality by birth or naturalisation or by the 2 year route or 5 year route or 10 year route then the children of such British nationals can apply for British nationality if at the time of birth the parents have already got British nationality. Even if they were not born in the country. But if the parents have got citizenship thru their parents and they were born out of the country and their children have also been born outside the country then they will not get British citizenship if they apply after completing 21 years of age and are not dependent on their parents.

Dr Malik also spoke about the visitor visa and said that if someone is here on a visitor visa the person cannot apply to switch to any other category even if they are eligible after coming here and that he or she will have to go back to their home country within 6 months and then they can apply from there for the category that they wish to apply in.

He also spoke about claiming benefits he said that people are allowed to claim benefits immediately after getting the ILR dependent visa and they need to go to job centre plus where they can find out exactly what benefits can be claimed.

Dr Malik spoke about the intra company transfer visa. He said that it is a sub category of the Tier 2 visa. If a person has come here before April 2011 they can apply for settlement but if a person has come after that then they cannot apply for settlement. Also now people who are here on ICT who entered after April 2011 they will not get further extension after 6 years and they will have to go back to their home country for a cooling off period of 12 months before they can come back here on a Tier 2 category. But if they want to come back on a Tier 1 or Tier 4 category then the cooling period does not apply to them. Also if people are here on an intra-company transfer then they cannot switch to any other Tier 2 category. But they can shift to a Tier 1 category when applying in country.

He also said that the government has announced that there might be a lot of changes to the Tier 2 category in the coming 2 or 3 years. After 2018 they might not grant indefinite to anyone on Tier 2. But all this depends on the results of the upcoming elections.

He said that immigration rules keep changing, these changes are challenged in court and bring about more changes so it’s best to consult a solicitor to know the best option available. I had a great time discussing all about immigration with Dr Malik.